No one knows for sure what Apple is working on for a breakthrough into the Television business. But expectations are high that Apple would announce something quite dramatic this fall.
No, they are not going to introduce a new piece of TV hardware. Plenty of high-tech TV’s are available from the likes of Samsung, Sony, etc. What Apple will do is revolutionize the content business for the consumer, much like what it did with the music business via iPod and iTunes.
I just read this:
The television industry is based on cable and advertisers setting up assorted tollbooths between the viewer and what they want to watch. Getting to your show means paying a cable bill, running through a buggy user guide, and sitting through commercials.
What if you could just pay for whatever you wanted when you wanted it? That would change the entire industry. That’s most likely what Apple’s working on and the revolution could be led by ESPN.
ESPN is owned by Disney and Apple has a very close link with Disney (the CEO of Disney sits on Apple’s board and the late Steve Jobs sat on Disney’s board after selling Pixar for $7.4B). Apple could provide ESPN directly to viewers for a fee which should be cheaper than what cable companies charge. What about the same for HBO? The cable industry pays for contents and sells them to the viewer as various expensive packages. Apple may bring the “liberation” and easier choice to viewers. That would shake up the cable industry for sure.
Of course Disney would not like to alienate the cable companies because of the revenue stream it collects from them. So the deal with Apple would be tricky.
Even Apple’s simple device AppleTV enables wireless transmission between your computer and the TV set. It claims to sell 3 million units of that per year. A revamped iTune store with better contents such as ESPN, HBO and the like, would be welcome at last.
So let’s wait till the fall for Apple’s announcement!
Four CEOs in five years! Yahoo was a symbol of innovation and success in its first few years of life. Founded by two Stanford Ph.D. students (Yang and Filo), Yahoo defined the Internet era of communities and sharing. It still has an enviable community using various services like email, finance, news, etc. It has lost much advertising dollars to Google. Terry Semel came from Hollywood and wanted to make it a media company. That did not work. Terry flew in every week on a private jet from LA to San Francisco and was driven in a limo to work every day. His compensation was way higher than many other CEOs at similar valley companies. Jerry Yang returned as CEO for the second time and botched up a lucrative offer from Microsoft. Yang was no Steve Jobs on his second return to the company he founded. He turned down the Microsoft offer to buy Yahoo at $47 per share (current share is $15.50). There was indeed an “identity” crisis at Yahoo.
Then came Carol Bartz and she talked tough and tried to straighten out the confusion, but results did not show any positive impact. She was let go last year, after being fired over phone from the board chairman. Then the board picked Scott Thompson, a well-reputed executive from Paypal (eBay) to head the company just a few months ago. He started reducing redundancy and bring clarity to Yahoo’s core business. He let go 2000 employees recently. Several top skills left the company. As he was settling in, came the news that his resume had information on his degree that is not right. Most likely that error existed for a while, but one disgruntled investor questioned his integrity and the board on not doing due diligence before hiring him as CEO. Yahoo and Scott did a poor job responding to this and the result was his departure yesterday.
With all the business problems at Yahoo and its anaemic growth, a strong leader is needed to refocus the company on what it is best at – innovating new solutions for keeping the community loyal. After all, Yahoo gave many technologies such as Hadoop and HDFS in managing Big data. Without a strong execution-oriented CEO, it will fade away like many dot-com era companies.
It is hard to believe that Yahoo was once valued at $100B (current valuation $18.9B).